United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties set Chili Cook-Off for Oct. 4

The theme for the 2022 Chili Cook-off is children's books. Cook-off participants will decorate their table displays and dress based on their favorite children's stories.

Chili Feed
The 2022 United Way of Douglas and Pope counties Chili Cook-Off is set for Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Broadway Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

ALEXANDRIA — United Way of Douglas and Pope counties 23rd annual Chili Cook-Off will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Broadway Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We are hoping that as we bring this event back that it continues to grow," said Jen Jabas, executive director of the local United Way. "The funds that we raise through the chili cook-off go right back into our community through Douglas and Pope counties to support the grants we provide to local non-profits and the programs we offer through United Way that support local individuals and families."

This will be the first cook-off since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the United Way from holding the event in 2020 and 2021 due to health concerns, according to Jabas.

"This year we feel comfortable returning and are excited to bring this really fun event back because it really does welcome the entire community," she said.

The theme for this year's event is children's books. Participants for the event will wear costumes and design their table displays based on their favorite children's stories.


Guest judges Todd Stensrud of Massman Automation Designs and Kyle Athey of Geneva Capital, along with members of the United Way board of directors, will decide the Best Display, the Most Unique Chili and the Judges' Choice.

Event-goers will receive a voting slip with their ticket to vote for their favorite chili. Winners of the People's Choice will take home the United Way traveling trophy.

Tickets for the event are $10, which gets you a bowl to try the 25 different chilies and a chance to win a door prize. Tickets can be purchased the day of the event at the Broadway Ballroom — located at 115 30th Ave. East in Alexandria — or at the United Way office at 503 Hawthorne St. in Alexandria. Children 5 and younger attend for free.

Thalen Zimmerman of Alexandria joined the Echo Press team as a full-time reporter in Aug. 2021, after graduating from Bemidji State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass communication in May of 2021.